Dorset businesses in £13.4m support scheme

The team from Dorset Growth Hub at AFC Bournemouth’s Vitality Stadium for the launch of the Dorset Business Growth Programme which will support companies right across the county. Pictured at the front are project administrator Linda Lengvinaite, inward investment co-ordinator Lee Matthews and enterprise specialist Christine Collins.
Essential business support worth up to £13.4 million is available to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across Dorset under a comprehensive scheme launching this week. The Dorset Business Growth Partnership is designed to help any county-based SME become more competitive in the market. Dedicated strands of activity will include pre-start and start-up support and improving companies’ digital capabilities, management and leadership skills and scope for internationalisation. Access to finance will be delivered through grants and loans alongside advice, mentoring, training and events. The three-year SME Competitiveness programme, funded by the European Regional Development Fund, is led by WSX Enterprise and the Dorset Growth Hub with a range of support partners. Programme & Partnership Manager Lucy Cooper said: “We’ve done a great deal of planning to put this highly integrated programme together, based on what companies and entrepreneurs in Dorset have said are the key barriers to growth for them . “This is all about creating transformational change and benefits for SMEs in all parts of Dorset, as well as having a foundation on which to build sustainable business support for the future.” A key feature of the programme is tailored support for specific sectors such as manufacturing, the creative and digital industries, tourism and hospitality, and health and social care. Well-established business support organisations are involved in delivery as programme partners. They include Dormen, The Arts Development Company, Silicon South, YTKO and Bournemouth University. The programme has the backing of local authorities across the county while the Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership is acting as a strategic partner. Bournemouth Borough Council is the accountable body for the programme. Launch events for project partners in the east and west of the county have been held this week – at West Dorset District Council’s South Walks House in Dorchester and AFC Bournemouth’s Vitality Stadium. Following launch, the Dorset Growth Hub and partners will work together to highlight the programme to eligible SMEs. For more details and information on eligibility, visit Notes to editors About WSX Enterprise – WSX Enterprise is a not-for-profit company delivering a wide range of business support and entrepreneur services including start-up loans, business mentoring, innovation support and business design. Most services are delivered free or heavily subsidised with government and European funding. For more information, visit About the European Regional Development Fund – The project has received £6.7 million (total project value £13.4 million including match funding) of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.  The Department for Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for ERDF. Established by the European Union, ERDF funds help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations.  For more information visit Media enquiries on this news release to Cliff Moore or Scott Sinclair, Deep South Media, on 01202 534487.